Wednesday, October 25, 2023

ICF Partiorism

Credit: see below

The Israel Chess Federation had posted a series of photos of Israeli players and teams, mostly in international events such as the 2022 Olympiad. The photos are by Dr. Mark Liebschitz [ph. spelling]. Of particular interest is the above image - what seems to be a (small) double blindfold simul (3 boards each) in the Israeli Knesset, or parliament. 

Chess on Reserve Duty


Source: see below

I am now on reserve duty. I serve, unsurprisingly perhaps, as a history officer in the IDF's history department. My commanding officer sent me and others this photo of two IDF soldiers playing chess in a military base somewhere. Of course, the faces of the soldiers were hidden in the original image as well and it is an unclassified one. White (left) seems to be winning. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Alekhine's World Trip Discrepancy


Credit: here.

Our correspondent, Herbert Halsegger, pointed out to us that the Neues Preßburger Tagblatt of 7 February 1932, p. 6, has an interview with Alekhine where he discusses his planned world trip. Alekhine explicitly mentions that he will also visit Palestine as well as many other countries and locations. Interestingly, Davar, on 31 December 1931, p. 3, mentions Alekhine's world trip and does not mention him visiting Palestine. Only later - 21 January 1932, p. 3 - does Davar mention that a "reliable source" notes that Alekhine will visit Palestine as well. 

What is the reason for this discrepancy? Had Alekhine changed his mind about the trip's locations in January 1932? This seems unlikely since many of the countries mentioned in both articles are the same. In particular, the starting point (Marseilles) and the location Alekhine will visit just after Palestine according to the February interview (Port Said) are mentioned. 

Another mystery is why, if Alekhine's trip was already publicly known in December 1931 and an interview about it was given in February 1932, did Davar need to use an anonymous "reliable source" instead of simply noting where the details of the trip were given. 

Finally, that Alekhine had no problem planning a trip to Palestine doesn't prove Alekhine was not an antisemite. He also planned to visit India and Japan, and it would be no libel on his character if it turned out he happened to share the beliefs about the inferiority of Indians or Japanese which were almost universal for Europeans of his generation. Alekhine may have been prejudiced against Jews while still visiting Palestine.

But there is a big moral difference between Alekhine possibly sharing prejudices against Jews common to his place and time and Alekhine being a Nazi. If Alekhine were a true believer in Nazi ideology, it is highly unlikely he would have publicly declared his intention to visit Palestine in particular. 

The Start of the Israel Chess Federation


Credit: Davar Ha'shavuah, 7 October 1949, p. 18.

A frequent correspondent notes that one of the first mentions of the relaunched chess federation in the new state - the Israel Chess Federation - is in the above 1949 note. As La'merhav notes (3 May 1968, p. 8) the Israel Chess Federation was in fact established that year. 

The above note informs that the suggestion came originally from the Lasker chess club in Tel Aviv, which contacted the clubs in Haifa and Jerusalem to come to a general meeting to establish the new national federation. In particular, Israel Barav (here mentioned under his old name, Rabinovich) is mentioned in asking the Haifa club to join, and that the constitution of the federation was ratified. 

Chess in the Newsreels, Part II


Credit: see below

We have already noted in the past that chess was occasionally featured in newsreels in Israel (and Mandatory Palestine) in pre-television days, but some of the links in posts about "movies" or "newsreels" are no longer active. Above is a screenshot from the Israeli film archive search for "chess" (in English) which features all such newsreel items, with the titles in English. The newsreels themselves are in Hebrew but there are English subtitles.